Seton Hall Prep put on a remarkable pack running clinic to repeat as boys team champion, the Montclair girls won for the third straight year, and Emma Friedrich and Zachary Liu-Walter captured the individual titles at Friday's Essex County Championships at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield.
In the boys team race, Seton Hall Prep overcame a 1-2 finish from Millburn by jamming its five scorers within a ridiculous 10 second spread to emerge with a 58-67 victory over runner-up Millburn.
Seton Hall Prep averaged 16:54 on the superfast layout as senior Danny Collum (16:49), sophomore Connor Schmit (16:51), senior Ben Ferrara (16:54), senior Anthony Bottino (16:57), and Brady Sheaffer (16:59) poured across the line to take places 9-10-12-13-14. Ferrara is the lone runner who scored for Seton Hall Prep when the Pirates won in 2019, when the meet was last held.
Senior Liu-Walter (16:10) and his teammate senior Evan Feldman (16:17) led the charge for Millburn with their 1-2 finish, but when a pack runs as tight as Seton Hall Prep did, it's nearly impossible to knock them off.
The 16:10 by Liu-Walter was a huge PR and his victory is a big turnaround from the SEC meet earlier this month when he placed 12th against the same runners.
On the girls side, Friedrich, a junior who played field hockey the last two years, continued her amazing rookie season by running a huge PR of 18:39 to win the race by 12 seconds over Cedar Grove senior Tara Smurla (18:51).
Montclair dominated the team race by putting four runners in the top 12 and averaging 20:31 on the way to a 50-92 victory over runner-up Montclair Kimberley Academy.
Montclair went 3-4-7-12-24 and put its seven runners ahead of MKA's No. 4 runner to put an exclamation point on the victory.
The top five runners for the Mounties are all sophomores. They are Avery McAdams, third in 19:34, Maya Kim, fourth in 19:56, Madeline Duncan, seventh in 20:13, Annabelle Svenson, 12th in 21:04, and Estelle Svenson, 24th in 21:49.